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A Farewell to Lent, Poems by Kevin Hadduck
A Farewell to Lent , by Kevin Hadduck, is a collection of poems, mostly theological or otherwise "religious" in some sense, that follows a progress of spiritual searching, growth, failure, frustration, triumph, praise, and celebration. The poems move toward and follow from Easter, the definitive Christian season and holy day. Taken together, they do not make a steady or self-confident march, but rather a lurching and staggering, within a realization of inner peace and joy. Of this collection of poems, the author says, "I have no skill whatever in dance, and yet I learned to dance freely and joyfully on feet so swollen and painful that I could barely walk. For me, that is the life of praise and worship, and I hope these poems convey at least some of what I mean by that."
"Imagine Job writing a hymnal. Now you know, redeemed or not, just how snug your spiritual seatbelt needs to be before diving into Kevin Hadduck's new collection of poems, A Farewell to Lent. In 'this bash and crack, / this relentless grind of grace' Hadduck yokes his 'oxen to a dung cart,' praying in shouts and whispers, curses and pleas, pestering his Fat God and Thin God like a silent cricket or a flitting gnat if necessary. Like Herbert and Hopkins before him, Hadduck knows that 'every day burns' and that 'everyone burns, briefly.' And as these faith-filled, faith-worried poets did in their day, Hadduck does in 21st century terms, giving a varied and powerful voice to the persistent eternal longings in all of us. Like any good collection of poems, A Farewell to Lent is not a page-turner. It's a well to return to one startling page at a time to sip the author's bewilderment-'how why have I come to be?' To share in his despondency-'take bone-bent me aloft with a leap.' To be inspired by his reverence-'Open the sun-gilt waves, and read / the grammar of sky and sea.' To be consoled by his song-'Ignite our wooden hearts / and in thy tender mercy / crash our party.' And to be elated by his determined hope-'I aim to dance my hallelujahs now.' I encourage readers of any disposition and any or no affiliation to bid farewell to their own Lent, and walk with Hadduck's words, trusting as they do that 'Love will be there, / Standing in that door.'"-Gary Bouchard.
"Hadduck is at his best in this new collection, struggling with angels through the long night, refusing to let go until his questions are answered and his blessing received. Reading these pages, we are invited to share in both the fight and the reward."-Daniel Schwindt